GPO leader Mike Schreiner: Major projects deserve proper oversight and public input
Dear Minister Yurek,
I am writing to express my concern about the Government of Ontario's decision to temporarily exempt all ministries from the minimum 30-day consultation requirement to post proposals for acts, regulations, policies, and instruments to the Environmental Registry of Ontario
Public notification and consultation is a key component of any healthy democracy. The Environmental Bill of Rights plays an essential role in providing the public with an opportunity to comment and engage in important policy decisions. While I appreciate that we are facing an unprecedented crisis, we cannot sacrifice public oversight of environmental and climate decisions that affect public health and safety, quality of life, and stewardship of resources and communities.
The additional authority granted to the Government under the state of emergency should be exercised with extreme caution and cannot compromise public trust in government decisions. With respect to the suspension of normal ERO proceedings, these exemptions should only apply of they are relevant to our timely response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I request that the Ministry clarify why it has taken this step and reassure the public that these exemptions will not be used to irresponsibly move forward major projects that deserve proper oversight and public input.